Basic Football Betting Terms Every Bettor Should Understand

What is a Money Line?

Money line bets are the most basic type of bet when it comes to football betting. Money line bets don’t involve any point spread or anything else, simply picking one team over the other. Money lines are almost always offered in the American NFL and NCAA football. One example of a money line is –120 Patriots vs. +110 Eagles. This means that in order for a bettor to win $100, they have to wager $120 on the Patriots. Alternatively, a bettor can win $110 by wagering $100 on the Eagles. Strictly speaking, a bettor is backing one side to win no matter how many points they win by.

What is a Point Spread

Betting against the spread is the most common way of betting on football games. Generally, the point spread for a football game is calculated by taking the estimated total number of points scored by each team, and subtracting the estimated total points scored by one team from the estimated total points scored by the other team. For example, if one team is expected to score 20 points and the other team is expected to score 18 points, then the point spread is said to be 2 points. Point spreads are expressed in half-point increments, so a point spread of 2.5 means that the favorite team is favored by two and a half points.

What is an Over/Under Bet?

An Over/Under bet, sometimes also referred to as a “total,” is a type of bet on the total number of points scored by both teams in a given game. NFL games usually have an Over/Under of 45 or 46 points, while college football games frequently have Over/Unders as high as 75 or even 90 points. Generally speaking, the Over/Under assigns each team with a certain point total. If the actual score is greater than the Over/Under point total, the result is an “over”, and if the score is lower than the Over/Under, the result is an “under”.

What is a Parlay

A Parlay, sometimes also referred to as an “accumulator,” is a type of bet involving multiple picks. In a parlay bet, the bettor is required to make multiple picks, and the odds are adjusted to reflect the greater level of difficulty in making multiple correct picks. If all of the picks are correct, the bettor wins the original wager plus a much larger bonus. The potential payouts from a parlay bet can be quite large, as the bonus is based on the odds of each individual pick. The downside of a parlay bet is that if one pick is wrong, the entire bet is lost.


Betting on football can be a great way to make money if you know what you’re doing. It’s important to understand basic football betting terms, such as Money Line, Point Spread, Over/Under, and Parlay before jumping in and placing any bets. With understanding of these terms comes a greater understanding of the game, and the ability to make informed decisions when placing bets. With the right knowledge and the proper application of these betting terms, bettors can be successful in football betting.

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